Funky Fresh Spring RollsMiles to Market - 3 Located 3536 W Fond Du Lac Avenue
“A lot of good stories start when the hero’s back is against the wall,” TrueMan McGee tells me in his makeshift office space in the basement of the Sherman Phoenix. “For me it started with being laid off at 28 with a two-year old son and having to move back in with my parents.”
It was a tough time for TrueMan but it was also a moment of clarity. “I realized I’m in control of my life and the only person who can get me out of this is me.” And this is where the inspiration for Funky Fresh Spring Rolls began.
Step one involved taking better care of himself by reading and learning about the importance of diet and nutrition on not only the body but the mind. In six months, TrueMan put in the work and lost 50 pounds by changing the way he looked at food.
“I realized which foods make you feel better. Food isn’t supposed to weigh you down. It isn’t supposed to make you feel groggy or sleepy. I didn’t feel that way anymore after I started eating better.”
His success was so inspiring he went into business for himself as a personal trainer. In 2012, with the help of a 400-pound tractor tire, he started Getting Tired Fitness to help other people take charge of their weight.
He soon discovered it wasn’t so much the workouts as it was eating habits that made the biggest difference in his client’s weight loss, so he started creating healthier food options which led to experimenting with one of his favorite foods: the spring roll.
“I loved egg rolls and spring rolls. The problem was they don’t have that many nutrients and the wrapper is deep fried. I thought I could change this by using healthier ingredients like kale, sweet potatoes, and black beans and, instead of deep frying, I’m going to bake it with a little brush of olive oil. The way we cook food, how we cook food, how way we prepare food is just as important as what we put into food. It all started just from me making healthier substitutions and I ended up with this product that I was like, ‘Whoa, this is pretty good.’”
His clients agreed and TrueMan started making his Funky Fresh Spring Rolls grilled to order at farmer’s markets, the Innovation and Wellness Commons on North Avenue and the Grand Avenue. It wasn’t until 2019 that he found his new permanent home at the Sherman Phoenix.
“The Sherman Phoenix has been pivotal to our success. To have a steady location and to be embraced by the community, the community I grew up in just ten blocks away, and to bring healthier options to a food desert…well, on a personal level I am extremely grateful. I feel like we’re a big part of this community.”
Being a part of that community and being a Black business owner in Milwaukee is also something TrueMan takes seriously.
“As a Black business owner, I want to inspire other black people to be proud of themselves and take pride in their work and become the best they can be. I feel like 2020 was such an awakening and it was something that we needed. As Americans we just ignore the tough conversations,” TrueMan pauses. “Let me put it this way: If I’m working out the only way to get stronger is to put your body through some resistance, to go through some struggle. It’s the same as people—we have to have those uncomfortable conversations for growth and I’m ready to have those conversations.”
As for having his products on Outpost’s shelves well…” Let me tell you. I am so excited for this. From day one getting into Outpost was always on my to-do list. Now that it is actually happening I am ecstatic. I’m going to be the first customer to buy my own product so I can send a picture to my mom. I love that Outpost gives small business an opportunity and I am forever grateful for the opportunity. It’s a dream come true.”
Look for TrueMan’s Spring Rolls in our freezer section.